|About Your House - Environmental
| What is Mold?
Molds are microscopic fungi, the very tiny members of the same family that includes mushrooms and yeasts. They grow
and reproduce rapidly. Molds can be useful—penicillin comes from one type of mold. Other molds help humans make some
foods and beverages. Mold can also be harmful. It can damage and even ruin materials, such as paper, cardboard and
fabrics. Mold can affect your health and your family’s health. Health experts say that molds can cause allergic reactions
and illnesses, depending on the type of mold, the amount and degree of exposure and the health condition of a home’s
Do I need to take Mold Samples?
If you see mold, or suspect you have mold, and it happens to be in an area which had water or condensation damage I
recommend to have it professionally removed ( a small area less than 3 sq/ft can be removed by the home owner as long
as the proper methods are followed, see the attached .pdfs for more detailed information), usually there is no need to pay
to have it tested.
Some times you may be told that air sampling should be conducted to see if there is mold. I recommend more information
should be gathered prior to making this decision. A certified mold/indoor air specialist should be consulted. Can a home
inspector do this? Depends, if they are qualified (professionally trained and certified or registered).
Even though I am trained for mold and indoor air quality (CMHC - Indoor Air Quality Investigator Trained, ESA - CMA/CMI -
Certified Mold Inspector/Assessor) Taking air samples at a home inspection is not the first thing I would recommend. As a
seasoned home inspector I use various methods to help determine if mold is present at an inspection. My training,
smelling, experience, visual observation and sometimes THERMAL IMAGING can be non-invasive methods of determining if
there is active water present (a musty type smell can be a warning sign of dampness and in turn possible mold).
So what do you do if you suspect you have mold? I recommend to read the information below so you can become more
informed, prior to seeking a specialist.
Today's homes are being built with more insulation in the attic and walls, better constructed windows and more efficient
mechanical devices such as furnaces and air conditioners. The house has become better sealed or more energy efficient.
have an effect on both people and the house.
Proper ventilation of the moisture, which is generated inside the house, is required to keep a comfortable living
environment. Moisture generated in the house can come from many sources - people, pets, cooking, showering, fish tanks,
open sources of water etc. etc. Air born moisture can be produced and all this moisture which is captured in the air should
be directed outside, if not then there is a real possibility that this moisture can condense on cold surfaces such as windows,
behind cold toilet tanks, on cold water pipes or cold surfaces such as exterior facing walls and possibly produce
condensation or water and long term it may produce mold.
Ventilation comes in various forms such as fans and HRV's (Heating Recovery Ventilators). Fans in washrooms should
always be left on for approx 25-30 minutes especially after showers or the very least a window should be left open to help
draw that moist air outside. Kitchen fans should also be used during and after cooking. If you have a laundry room with a
ceiling fan, you should be running this fan during the drying cycles. Anywhere moisture is produced should have some type
of venting to the outside.
FYI - have you noticed a switch directly above the furnace thermostat, usually located on the main floor family room, and
when you turn it on nothing happens, well the next time you turn it on see if the upstairs bathroom fan turns on. This is
called a Ventilation Fan Switch and what it does is it controls the upstairs bathroom fan so when the hot moist air rises the
fan can help suck it outside. It should be a three-way switch which means the fan can be
turned on/off upstairs and or at the switch above the furnace thermostat. Fell free to use it on those cold days when you
don't want to open the window but make sure the bathroom door is open.
Another method being used to help reduce moisture levels and provide fresh air inside the home is the use of HRV's or Heating
Recovery Ventilators. These units are being used to help reduce the moisture
levels (indoor air quality) in a house as well to help provide fresh air into the house (air exchange). Some units provide
heat transfer to the incoming air so energy loss is kept to a minimum.
Builders are providing HRV's as a standard item in many newer homes, especially R2000 homes. Older homes which have been
upgraded to energy efficient standards can also benefit with an HRV and can definitely be upgraded to accommodate the
units.HRV's must be properly sized and balanced to be effective. Make sure you use an expert.
Natural Resorces Canada (NRC) - Click here for more info about Heat Recovery Ventilators
Do you already own an HRV? Then you should check out the CMHC link and watch the video on how to maintain your HRV.
CMHC Video - How to maintain your HRV
More Information about Ventilation and Humidity:
may help in
areas of moisture or
water which can
What is clean air?...It's keeping Chemical and Biological Contaminants out of your lungs.
problems that may be affecting your home and health. It also takes a look at our energy consumption. This audit
provides you with simple and doable positive actions to help solve these problems.
It will break down each room of the house to help identify the major sources of poor air quality and energy wasters. It will
provide the following information - Questions, Comments and Positive Actions.
Read it for your family's health!
The Lung Association - The Healthy Home Audit
Did you know that based on an April 2014 Toronto Public Health Report (Path to Healthier Air: Toronto Air Pollution
Burden of Illness Update) report that more than half of Toronto's air pollution is emitted within the city's boundaries itself.
Toronto Public Health estimates that air pollution in Toronto currently contributes to 1,300 premature deaths and 3,550
hospitalizations annually. This represents a decrease of 23% in premature deaths and 41% in hospitalizations as
compared with 2004.
A not-for-profit environmental watch dog, Toronto Environmental Alliance or TEA has taken a hands on approach to air
monitoring with the launch of INHALE - Initiative for Healthy Air & Local Economies Project. They have devised a unique
approach to monitoring the air quality. By using compact and easy to operate air quality monitors and GPS devices which
can be strapped to backpacks, bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs the devices can automatically draw in air and count the
volume of fine particulates which in turn can provide a guide to the air quality for that specific area of the city and TEA
has also gone one step further by actually mapping those findings on a city wide map (Fresh Air Finder Map) (as of today
South Etobicoke, Toronto and Hamilton have been mapped)...I highly recommend you read the full article in the North
York Mirror Thursday June 23, 2016 edition by Cynthia Reason and check out the Fresh Air Finder Map..
Webtrak is an online tool which provides real-time and historical flight path data so you can investigate aircraft operations.
Webtrak makes it easier for you to see what plane is overhead and to submit a noise complaint.
You could also plug in your home or office address and see if airplanes are in your flight path. This is a very cool site - I
plugged in my home address and it showed me a plane flying near my house in real time. You can even type in a specific
day and time to see what planes were flying overhead at that time.
I ran my mouse over the plane and it showed me the height or altitude of the plane as well as the origin of the flight, the
type of plane and destination...click on Webtrak to go to the site. Be sure to read the left side tab at the top "Start Here"
and the tab "Flights and Complaints" will allow you to enter your address. Be sure to investigate all the tabs and sections
there's a lot you can do with this site.
Noise Exposure Forecast - NEF
Aircraft noise has been a long standing issue in Toronto as well as most major and inter-city airports. As the population
increases in any given city the air traffic tends to increase. Most people know that aircraft can produce very loud noises,
but living in the flight path to a major airport may produce loud noises over a period of time which can have a more
devastating impact to the human ear, not to mention the psychological or long term impact...i.e. Stress.
Typically noise is measured in Decibels (db) but how do you measure aircraft noise, over a period of time, type of aircraft,
night or day operation, weight etc. etc....many variables have gone into finding a formula to come up with the effective
perceived noise level. The NEF or Noise Exposure Forecast was introduced by Transport Canada to provide a guide and
a contour map was designed to visually identify the NEF rating around Toronto International Airport.
The contour map will give you the NEF rating - look very closely at the black lines and you will see a NEF Rating -
(25,30,35,40). The contour map doesn't give you the community response (Basically at what number will the community
respond, such as noise complaints based on the individual number) the higher the number the louder the noise. This is
important if you want to buy a house in an area defined by the contour map.
So I found Transport Canada's Definition, scroll down to 4.8 Recommended Practices and review Table 1 - Community
1 (over 40 NEF) Repeated and vigorous individual complaints are likely. Concerted group and legal action might be
2 (35-40 NEF) Individual complaints may be vigorous. Possible group action and appeals to authorities.
3 (30-35 NEF) Sporadic to repeated individual complaints. Group action is possible.
4 (below 30 NEF) Sporadic complaints may occur. Noise may interfere occasionally with certain activities of the resident.
For more publications and links visit Toronto Pearson website
Toronto International Airport - Webtrak
Living Near A Railway Line
If your thinking about buying a home or you already own a home near a railway line or yard there are some important
questions you might want answered. From blocking a crossing to noise and vibrations to train cargo and emergency
preparedness and more. With over 45,000km of rail line in Canada the odds are your home is near a rail line.
CP Rail has prepared a brochure outlining these and several other questions you may have.
CN has a web page discussing blocked crossings, whistling, idling trains and property.
I also wanted to provide additional information and links, see below, which you may or may not find on CP and CN's
brochure and or web page. The Canadian Rail Atlas is very useful in zeroing on your actual community or street level and
identifying if a rail line is near by.
Canadian Rail Atlas - a website with a detailed map that outlines almost 45,000 Kilometers of railway network in Canada
where you can view class 1, short-line, tourist, commuter and intercity passenger railways. Make sure you read the USER
MANUAL first its very helpful in understanding the full use of the map, or go directly to the MAP.
Rail and Reason - A community blog for people affected by railway noise pollution.
Railway Noise Measurement and Reporting Methodology - was prepared to guide railway companies, citizens, and
municipalities conducting a railway noise assessment in the course of a noise dispute before the Agency. A complement
to the Guidelines (see Guidelines below), the Methodology sets out procedures for the assessment of noise levels from
existing rail installations and installations under construction. The Methodology may be used by the Agency in reviewing
noise assessment submissions provided in support of cases for adjudication
Guidelines for the Resolution of Complaints over Railway Noise and Vibration - The Guidelines set out the collaborative
measures that parties must follow before the Agency will investigate a complaint. They also set out the elements the
Agency will consider in determining whether a railway company is in compliance with the noise provisions of the CTA and
the process to be followed in filing a complaint and the information to be submitted
Transport Canada - Website outlining railway safety - Acts, Regulations, Rules, Standards etc.
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